Typically a birth injury is defined by a case where an injury was sustained during birth due to the negligence of a doctor. These cases can many times have lifelong effects on an individual that requires continuous medical care. Therefore, if your child has suffered an injury during birth, it is crucial that you hire a Louisville birth injury attorney as soon as possible. A proper medical malpractice lawyer can help in crafting a strong case for your claim, and aid in maximizing any potential damages that you may be entitled to.
Determining the Injury
Knowing whether or not a person’s child suffered a birth injury can sometimes be difficult because symptoms may or may not be present immediately. A person’s child may come out gray and be despondent, or have low APGAR scores, which measure the healthiness of a newborn on a scale of 1-10. If a baby is getting twos and threes, then there is something wrong. These could be indicators of an anoxic injury or a birth injury. Another obvious instance of an unhealthy newborn is the appearance of a broken collarbone, for example. These are surface level injuries that a person will be able to see right away.
However, some things will not be noticed until later when the baby is not reaching their milestones. There is a certain age when a normal child should roll over, a certain time when the child should lift his or her head, a certain time the child should sit up, et cetera. If the baby is not reaching those milestones, it may indicate that a problem exists. It may be a bit of time before a neurologist identifies that there was some type of birth injury, or that they have suspected an anoxic injury.
Fetal Monitor Strips
Many times, there are cases that involve the use of fetal monitor strips. When using fetal monitor strips, the baby is still in utero of being delivered, and there is a strap either around the outside of the mother’s belly, or there is an internal strip called a TOCO, which monitors how the baby is doing in relation to the labor. If there are late decelerations or evidence that the baby is in distress, the baby needs to either be taken by a cesarean section or the delivery needs to be expedited. In certain situations, medical mistakes can be made and lead to what is called ‘anoxic’ birth injuries. This is where the baby does not get enough oxygen to the brain, and ends up with cerebral palsy or other multitudes of brain injuries because someone was not watching the strips, reporting the strips, or acting upon what the strips were showing. In these instances, a birth injury attorney in Louisville should be consulted.
There are also cases of difficult deliveries that can lead to malpractice claims. For instance, if the baby is coming in breach, is faced down and needs to be turned around, or if the shoulders are on the wrong path, a baby can get shoulder dystocia. There are certain types of medical techniques that can be used to turn the baby so that the shoulders can come out, but this procedure can sometimes be performed incorrectly.
If a medical professional does it the wrong way and applies the wrong kind of pressure, the baby can get a brachial plexus injury which results in that child’s arm hanging limply to the side for the rest of his or her life. The hand will then atrophy and end up in a claw hand. There are many things that can go wrong if a doctor does not know what he or she is doing, or has not kept themselves up to speed on the most recent medical problems. These issues can be further explored to an individual’s benefit with the use of a knowledgeable Louisville birth injury lawyer.
Statute of Limitations
In terms of filing a lawsuit, an individual’s parents have until a year after their child’s 18th birthday to file. If the child has a brain injury or some kind of mental incapacitation where they cannot make choices for themselves, it is arguable that the statute of limitations will not run out until that disability is handled. Therefore, a person has some additional time to file a lawsuit, but should still get a Louisville birth injury attorney right away before medical records are destroyed, and before strips disappear. This is because hospitals will keep the fetal monitor strips somewhere separate from the medical record. That person should make sure that he or she hires an experienced birth injury lawyer right away, or as soon as it is suspected something could have gone wrong.
In addition to the claims for the injuries themselves, there will be claims for a life care plan. This life care plan will be used for the rest of the child’s life to help them integrate into school, to help them learn, to help them walk, or to retrofit a person’s home because they have to be in wheelchair. There are a variety of legal claims that can be brought, or legal damages that can be asked for in relation to a birth injury.